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Gift Yourself Alone Time This Christmas: Workouts, Salon Date, And Volunteering

You deserve to gift yourself some time to take care of just you. Here are ideas from busy moms who find ways, even on a budget.
PHOTO BYASH DELOS REYES AND THE COLOR BAR

Giving yourself a gift this Christmas might be the last thing on your mind right now, especially when you might be thinking of gifts for teachers, your inaanaks or your child's classmates, the extended family--not to mention gifts for your partner and your child.

We're not surprised that treating yourself is at the bottom of your priority list. But whether you like to admit it or not, moms are tired and often draw from an almost-empty tank every day. Because as author of international bestselling book Atomic Habits explains, parents find it difficult to build habits that free up mental capacity because there are too many unforeseen and uncontrollable factors like when will the child sleep/wake up? What do they eat? When will they get sick?

This is the reason why parents are always tired. Our brain is always running, making conscious decisions every minute of every day. We can’t rest our brains and allow it to just run automatically or on 'auto-pilot'.

That’s why Mommies, we deserve to date ourselves! Alone. We deserve time when we don't have to think of about anything or anyone else.

We asked other moms and Smart Parenting Village about their date-yourself ideas and which of these gives them that much-desired rest and self-fulfillment. Many are cost-efficient and friendly on the budget, while others take into consideration the privilege of childcare or being unable to leave your child alone for various reasons.

Here's the 2023 list, and here's hoping you find an idea for your me time this Christmas season.

Mommy me-time ideas to gift yourself for Christmas

1. Salon and spa date

The top one most-voted date-yourself idea that never fails is of course, a leisurely visit to the hair salon, spa, manicure, pedicure, wax or eyelash salon, massage, etc. Any beauty treatment.

I recently took myself to a hair salon after more than one year. I finally get why it is relaxing--sitting there for a few hours without anyone asking for snacks. Finally having the time to read a book without falling asleep. And bonus, someone is washing and massaging your hair, not the other way around. The best thing about a salon date--you will leave feeling like that beautiful woman you are once again. 

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The author hits two birds with one stone: Getting her hair done while reading.
PHOTO BY RIYALYN PASIMIO

Fun fact: This hair salon offers services that are safe for expectant and breastfeeding moms. Check out The Color Bar here

2. Coffee and reading

Coming in second to Mom’s top ideas for a date yourself is old but gold: a coffee date alone. Though it may seem simple to others, to moms who don’t have the luxury of childcare, a coffee date is precious. Eliza Sales-Coronado shared in the comments section of Smart Parenting Village, “Reading a book in a coffee shop while having a caramel drink.” She chooses light reading for her alone time and is currently reading The Burnout by Sophie Kinsella.

Smart Parenting Editor-in-Chief Ronna Capili Bonifacio, mom of three, shared her version. A simple yet satisfying self-care habit she is trying to develop: “I’m trying to read fiction again.” She started reading Red Sparrow by Jason Matthews.

Nothing beats sitting alone in a cafe sipping your favorite drink, finally catching up on your reading, and again--no one asking you for anything!

3. Going out alone.

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A planning session by herself outside of her home helps Knic to reduce her stress levels.
PHOTO BY KNIC MENESES

These moms literally date themselves by eating out and going out alone. Knic Meneses takes herself to a special alone time, “Gaming, and planning the future. When I'm so stressed out, I file a leave, and on the day of my leave, I stay in a motel room with my planners, stationery, and my gaming things. After that, I'm well rested and ready to take on my career and family again. Also, for daily/weekly upkeep, I make sure I plan the week  it lessens my stress and anxiousness knowing I can maximize my time.”

Smart Parenting Section Editor Judy Santiago Aladin, mom of one, shared, “Siguro yung meron akong meeting, tapos maaga ako umalis ng bahay to get a sit-down breakfast for myself sa Mary Grace. Tapos nilasap ko talaga kada subo. Haha!”

4. Exercise and workouts

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Ash Delos Reyes' defines her 'me-time' as working out at home.
PHOTO BY ASH DELOS REYES

Another date yourself idea that moms love is exercising and workouts. Whether they do it in the gym or just at home, the satisfaction of breaking a sweat and releasing endorphins is unbeatable. 

Czarina Maye Noche shared, “Working out 5x a week, if possible.” We asked her how she does it so consistently, and she answered, “I am back in an actual gym, I work out in my son’s school while waiting for him. Buti allowed ang parents to use the gym. I’m quite lucky that we found a kasambahay who can take care of the house (and also my bunso) so that I’ll have enough time for myself. Not all have this opportunity so I’m thankful also for my husband who understood that we needed an extra hand at home for my sanity.”

She also added the reason why she continues to do exercise, “Sa totoo lang, nakaka-losyang maging nanay. I’m working out not just for myself but for the benefit na rin of my family. I feel stronger, and much more happy thanks to endorphins Totoo po ata talaga ang happy wife, happy life. At the end of the day, I can serve my family well po.”

RELATED: Balik-Alindog After Pregnancy: How To Get Started And Stay Motivated

Ash Delos Reyes, mom of one who works from home, often shares her work-outs and progress done in the comfort of her home gym. “Yes, definitely, self-care talaga siya for me.”

5. Dance and yoga classes

Some moms chose to take up unique classes as a way of dating themselves. In particular, they took up dance classes and fly yoga!

Meg Mortega shared, “Dance classes. I go to Full Out Studios in San Juan weekly. She added, “I was looking for an activity back in April kasi as a WFH mom lagi lang ako sa bahay and madalas nakaupo dahil sa work. Gusto ko ma-exercise. Nag-search lang po ako ng dance studio when I saw yung isang video ng Full Out. Sabi ko try ko lang but it has become part of my life na.

She adds, "Sa dance class maraming ino-offer ang studio but I started with beginners class. Tapos I tried na yung femme, swag then chair.” 

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Hannah discovered fly yoga after becoming a mom, and has now become part of her routine.
PHOTO BY HANNAH PINO

Another unique idea was from Hanna Pino, “I am a freelancer who works from home on top of managing a home business. Just super grateful that I was introduced to fly yoga (using a hammock). It gave me an avenue to be myself, gain confidence, and embrace difficulties. I am a plus-sized, 4'11" momshie and it is amazing how fly yoga has become my go-to stress reliever.”

6. Volunteering

Jojie Jugo-Velasco said, “I've been a SAHM for almost 6 years. Since my youngest is already in 2nd grade, I asked my husband if I could volunteer at a nearby hospital since I still can't work full time because no one will fetch my kids at the bus stop. We're here in the US and it's not our plan to hire a nanny or put our kids in a daycare. Anyway, I just started the volunteer work and it's been a therapy for me kahit twice a week lang. I can talk to patients and their families. Walang bayad but the greatest achievement is to hear other people thank you and feel their gratitude because I share my time to serve others. ” 

  Now that’s a fulfilling kind of self-care activity!

Jojie volunteers in a hospital where she offers books, magazines, and newspapers to patients and their families. All those are donations so the patients can bring home the books they get. 

7. Self-care at home

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Sarah's 'mom cave' is a cozy nook she made for herself at home.
PHOTO BY SARAH SAMONTE-OBLENA

Some moms don’t need fancy dates, just self-care rituals in the comfort of their home while everyone is sleeping. That is enough to fill their tank. 

Sarah Samonte-Oblena shared, “I created a small cozy space for myself where I play games and read romance novels. I love that we can just be ourselves in a little space. Kind of like a female answer to a man cave. ”

Maria Teresa Escondo added, “I do coffee or wine with snacks while watching K-Drama with a face sheet on. If English dubbed yung KDrama I can also do my nails. Or naka-soak ang feet sa warm water while reading a book or something online with coffee/wine on the side. Minsan naka-soak din hair ko sa hair wax with a shower cap.”

Lastly, Joanne Orencia-Bautisa said, “Pag tulog na po ang lahat, umiinom ng hot tablea, then may ballpen at papel. Nagsusulat po ng kung anong naiisip. Scientifically, it helps our brain to unload things para makapag store pa ng new things ang brain.”

What are you waiting for, Mommies? Go ahead and find new ways to date yourself this holiday season!


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